Long after the wedding cake is eaten, your wedding photos will be the way you revisit some of the best moments of your wedding day. The wedding photo album can become a keepsake to be passed down to kids and grandkids, so here’s how to find the perfect wedding photographer to capture your big day.
What to look for in a photographer can vary but there are some generic qualifications that you should start with.
To begin with, you will want to find a photographer who’s style matches you and your fiance’s taste in photography. “Once they have done that, one of the most important things a bride needs to look for is how well they feel the photographer’s personality “clicks” with her and her fiance. It is also important to look for a photographer that is really passionate about their job. A photographer who is passionate will be more creative and willing to go the extra mile,” Mike Busada, President of the Maryland Professional Photographers Association and Mike B Photography.
Most brides think that by using a friend to photograph the wedding, they will save some money. Unfortunately you will cost yourself a friend. No matter how great a friend’s photographs are, having a professional photographer on hand will make a difference. It is very hard to be a true guest and photograph the wedding without missing something.
As with anything in life, there are pitfalls to watch for. The old saying that if is something is too good to be true, then it probably is applies with wedding photography. Most complaints that brides have about their photographers are that the images are not good quality, not living up to the contract, or even not getting their images at all. By doing some research, you can have a little piece of mind that you won’t experience any of these.
Your wedding photography should cost 10-15% of your wedding budget. If you find that a photographer is offering their services for much less then you need to question why that is. Do they have malpractice insurance, liability insurance, back up assistants, extra transportation, etc.
“Ask the photographers you are considering how they will handle a change due to bad weather. A majority of the images a bride sees are candid, outdoor, sunlit photos, but shooting inside requires a whole different skill set,” Busada explains.
Expecting your photographs to be edited, needs to be included in the contract. Images typically are color corrected, exposure tweaked and cropped, but if you want fine editing including teeth whitening and blemishes removed, then you need to discuss that ahead of time.
“Clarify things with your photographer before signing the contract and everyone can remain on the same page. It is also very important to set delivery time expectations. Setting expectations ahead of time is very important to maintaining a great relatioship after the wedding day has passed,” Busada said.
Finally do your research on their qualifications. In many countries you are required to become a licensed professional photographer, but in the US, you just need a camera and a business card. The Photographic Certification Commission was established by industry leaders to help consumers differentiate between professional photographers and amateurs.
The Photographic Certification Commission’s website states, “as the leading certifying agency for imaging professionals, the Professional Photographic Certification program is recognized throughout the industry. Those who have earned the Professional Photographic Certification have passed a comprehensive written exam measuring their technical expertise, and have successfully submitted their work to a panel of judges for review and approval.”
Hiring a certified photographer can surely give you a little piece of mind, but is not a deal breaker. Check out their references, their current albums, online blogs, and Facebook. Finally, ask about their continuing education. This will show you if they take their craft seriously.
Doing a little research can ensure that when you are walking down the aisle, you will have the confidence that everything is being captured perfectly.
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